While having recently been under fire from critics and viewers due to their perceived preference of ‘trash TV’ over promising comedy series and informative programming, digital terrestrial entertainment channel BBC3 could be set to get their ‘edge’ back and do both, after recruiting Blake Harrison (The Inbetweeners) to lead a new show with a premise of three words which are almost impossible to put in the same sentence – ‘assisted suicide comedy’.
Naturally of the ‘black comedy’ genre, the upcoming 6-episode series (which continues its level of ‘tact’ for the politically-correct brigade by being titled Way to Go), is a series which will offer a twist on the time-honoured ‘workplace sitcom’, as it focuses on three friends who see an opportunity to launch an assisted-suicide business.
Whether or not the show will focus fully on the touchy subject of euthanasia, or just feature a selection of comically miserable characters, the series sees Harrison (who is best-known for his role as ‘Neil’ in The Inbetweeners) portraying ‘Scott’, a man who comes up with the business idea when his terminally-ill neighbour asks for his help to euthanize him.
From there, Scott along with his brother Joey (Ben Heathcote) and Cozzo (Marc Wootton) will form their unusual venture, with the 6-strong main cast being rounded out by Hannah Job (Coming of Age), Laura Aikman (Casualty), and Sinead Matthews (Ideal).
The script for the series is to be penned by American writer Bob Kushell (3rd Rock From the Sun, Anger Management), who like numerous other actors and writers, appears to find the UK market more appealing to write unrestricted comedy. He said of his involvement in the project: “As someone who was weaned on great British comedy, including Monty Python, Blackadder and Fawlty Towers, there has been no bigger thrill in my life than to have a show on the BBC (narrowly edging out the birth of my son and trouncing my wedding day by a landslide). In over 20 years of writing comedy, I’ve never worked with a better cast and crew.”
BBC3’s channel controller Zai Bennett, claimed by many to be the man responsible for dropping many of the cult concepts on the station, added: “Bob Kushell’s scripts are in turn dark, poignant, absurd, moving and brilliant. But mostly they are very, very funny. I’m thrilled that Way to Go is coming to BBC Three.”
Additional writers of the show are rumoured to include episodes of Way to Go will be written by Brian Dooley (The Smoking Room), Jeff Greenstein (Will And Grace), and Kushell’s brother-in-law Russell Arch (Betty White’s Off Their Rockers). With big names behind it, the concept has plenty of opportunity to be at least a controversial ‘love to hate it’ TV series that produces important talking points, but unlike its touchy subject matter, will Way to Go manage to continue for its ‘full projected lifespan’ in the harsh world of TV executives and critics?